The Neuropsychology of the Unconscious: Integrating Brain and Mind in Psychotherapy
More than one hundred years after Freud began publishing some of his seminal theories, the concept of the unconscious still occupies a central position in many theoretical frameworks and clinical approaches. When trying to understand clients internal and interpersonal struggles it is almost inconceivable not to look for unconscious motivation, conflicts, and relational patterns. Clinicians also consider it a breakthrough to recognize how our own unconscious patterns have interacted with those of our clients. Although clinicians use concepts such as the unconscious and dissociation, in actuality many do not take into account the newly emerging neuropsychological attributes of nonconscious processes. As a result, assumptions and lack of clarity overtake information that can become central in our clinical work.
Topics covered include: the centrality of subcortical regions, automaticity, repetition, and biased memory systems; role of the amygdala and its sensitivity to fears in shaping and coloring unconscious self-systems; self-narratives; therapeutic enactments; therapeutic resistance; defensive systems and narcissism; therapeutic approaches designed to utilize some of the new understandings regarding unconscious processes and their interaction with higher level conscious ones embedded in the prefrontal cortex.